The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week issued draft regulations to facilitate nationwide mobile number portability (MNP), which is expected to commence from 3 May.
Nationwide MNP will allow mobile phone users to change their existing service provider in any part of the country while retaining their existing number.
The telecom regulator had, in 2011, facilitated the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) at state (circle) level, allowing users to shift between service providers in a particular circle.
The nationwide MNP will come into effect from 3 May, after which mobile users can change their existing service providers in any part of the country while retaining their existing number.
This means that a user in Delhi can retain his number while switching to another service provider, say, in Mumbai, Bangalore or any other place.
Based on the Trai's recommendations, DoT had, on 3 November 2014, issued amendments to the MNP Licence Agreement, as per which full MNP is to be implemented in the country within a period of 6 months from the date of amendment of the licences.
Trai has now asked stakeholders (service providers) to furnish their written comments on the draft telecommunication Mobile Number Portability by 6 February. Specifically, Trai has sought comments on issues like forwarding of porting request by recipient operator, reduction in timelines for number return process, improving of existing process of handling non-payment disconnections and handling of ownership related issues.
Trai wants to ensure that both pre-paid and post-paid mobile consumers are not harassed by service providers when the full MNP is implemented and that their interests are safeguarded.
It also wants a proper timeline is maintained by the old and new operator to intimate subscribers about their paid and unpaid dues so that there is no disruption of mobile services after porting.
It is expected that with national number portability national roaming charges will also be done away with.
The idea of roaming circles is peculiar to India as most countries allow nationwide roaming. India has 22 telecom circles and mobile phone users have to pay a fee for using the phone outside his/her circle.